Provincial Offences are non-criminal or quasi-criminal laws made by the Province of Ontario; however, the responsibility for the Provincial Offences Courts has been transferred by the province to municipalities across Ontario.
(Criminal law can be enacted only at the federal level. Please see the Criminal Code of Canada).
Provincial Offences Notices are primarily laid by the police, including those committed under the following:
Highway Traffic Act - such as speeding, careless driving, or not wearing your seat belt
Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act - such as failing to surrender your insurance card, or possessing a fake or invalid insurance card
Liquor License Act - such as being intoxicated in a public place; selling alcohol to a minor or to a person who is intoxicated or selling alcohol without a license or selling alcohol with a suspended or revoked license
Trespass to Property Act - such as entering premises when entry is prohibited or failing to leave the premises after being directed to do so
City by-laws - such as infractions under noise, smoking, taxi and animal care by-laws
There are three different types of provincial offence notices.
A Part I notice is a ticket that is issued to an individual, a Part II notice is a parking infraction, and a Part III notice is a summons (including a court date).
It's the responsibility of the Charging Officer or the Crown Prosecutor to determine whether an offence is too serious to be charged as a Summary Conviction Offence.
This deliberation is contingent upon factors such as whether or not bodily harm or aggravated assault occurred during the commission of the offence.If those elements are present, the Charge will be laid as an Indictable Offence and the accused will be tried in the Superior Court of Ontario before a Judge or a Judge and Jury.
Summary Conviction Offences carry a maximum punishment of 18 months in jail and these charges are heard before a magistrate in the Ontario Court of Justice, while Indictable Offences carry maximum sentences of either 5, 10, 14 years, or life in jail.
Licensed Paralegals can represent you where the penalty is up to a maximum of two years.
Theft under $5000.00 is a Summary Conviction Offence, while theft over $5000.00 is an Indictable Offence.
Theft is a Hybrid Offence because it can be charged either way.
Hybrid offences are indictable offences until the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction. Licensed paralegals may not provide legal services to persons accused of hybrid offences until the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction. Except to appear on remands and consent adjournments, lawyer licensing candidates and law students also may not provide legal services to persons accused of hybrid offences until the Crown chooses to proceed by summary conviction
Some federal statutes other than the Criminal Code create offences that can be prosecuted by summary conviction. Examples are the Cannabis Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Such offences are not listed on this page. Licensed paralegal, lawyer licensing candidates, and law students may appear as “agents” on any such offences that were, as of September 18, 2019, punishable by a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment or less when proceeding by summary conviction.
A summary offence in Canada is also known as a summary conviction offence, or colloquially, a petty crime. They are categorized as the least serious offences under the Criminal Code of Canada and are punishable by shorter prison sentences, probation and/or prohibition orders as well as smaller fines.787 (1) Unless otherwise provided by law, every person who is convicted of an offence punishable on summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years less a day, or to both.
Examples of Summary Offences: Driving With More Than 80 MGS of Alcohol; Theft Under $5,000; Fraud Under $5,000; Possession of a Narcotic; Simple/Common Assault; Fail to Appear/Comply; Disturbing the Peace.